Thinking about taking a trip to Cancun? Well, you’re not alone. Cancun, located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is one of the most popular and successful tourist destinations in the world, renowned for its breathtaking beauty and sunny tropical climate.
But you’ve heard it can be expensive, and you just don’t know if you can fit it into your budget. But truth be told, Cancun wouldn’t be so popular if it were only for the rich and famous.
But don’t worry — we’ll break down insider tips on how to stay safe, avoid problems, and best of all, how to see Cancun on a budget. Read on and start making your plans!
Average Trip to Cancun Cost in 2024
These are the latest average cost estimates per person for a 7-day trip to Cancun:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $60 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $650 (round trip economy)
- Food, Drink, & Activities: $45 per day
- Transportation: $15 per day
- Total Cost: $1,490
Over the many years that Cancun has been a popular travel destination, it has earned a reputation as being both an affordable and an expensive place to visit. As with any vacation, your own expenses will depend on what you want to make of it.
You can certainly have a luxurious, and expensive, stay in Cancun, but you can also have an unforgettable time without spending a lot of money if you know how to do it.
Cancun Trip Cost: Average by Item
Cancun offers a wide variety of accommodation options with an equally diverse price range, from the ultra-luxurious to basic budget, from very expensive to affordable for anyone.
It all depends on where in the city you want to stay and what type of experience you want to have. Rooms can run from $25 per night to $500 and up, with a recent average reported cost of $60.
The all-inclusive resorts that Cancun is famous for are located mostly in the area known as the Hotel Zone.
Here you’ll find the big hotels right on the beach with luxury suites and all the amenities, including multiple upscale restaurants and bars, spas and tanning salons, and bespoke boutiques and shops.
This is the domain of honeymooners and those wanting to splurge on a special getaway. They can be pricey but meals, amenities, perks, and some cool activities are included in the cost, so they can be a good value for the money.
Once you get away from this area into downtown Cancun, you’ll find the familiar mid-range and budget hotels as well as condos and guest houses for rent, including those offered by Airbnb and Vrbo.
You won’t be right on the beach here, but you won’t be far, and you’ll be within walking, biking, and public transit distance of great dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Some even offer small kitchens, so you can save money by cooking your own meals. For the adventurous and budget-conscious traveler, you’ll find plenty of hostels available and there are also some nice campgrounds in Cancun.
Because it’s such a traveled-to destination, airline fares to Cancun are pretty reasonable, with prices averaging $180 to $500 one-way economy and $800 to $1,500 for first-class.
The average for a round-trip economy class ticket is $650. There is only one major airport serving the city, Cancun International Airport, the primary gateway to the entire region.
It’s located about 10 miles southwest of the downtown area. It’s the second busiest airport in Mexico, and it handles international flights from all over the world as well as domestic flights. All the major airlines and many budget operations offer flights to Cancun.
You’ll find better deals on flights to Cancun during the off-season from May to November, except for school break periods and holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving.
Since many people like to take weekend getaways here, you can also find lower fares if you fly during the middle of the week. It’s always a good idea to book your flight in advance and be flexible in your travel dates to find better deals.
Food, Drink, & Activity Costs
Our experts have calculated an average cost of just $45 per person daily for dining, entertainment, and activities, and with our helpful tips, you can have a great time and enjoy some of the delicious local cuisine for that amount or even less.
You’ll be able to enjoy some of the best traditional Mexican fare and fresh seafood as well as some of the dishes that are unique to the Yucatan Peninsula.
These include Cochinita Pibil, a Mayan favorite consisting of slow-roasted marinated pork wrapped in banana leaves, Sopa de Lima, a spicy soup of shredded chicken, lime juice, and tortilla strips, and Salbutes, fried corn tortillas served with shredded chicken and vegetables.
For an authentic and affordable dining experience, you’ll find the famous Mexican street food being served from stalls and trucks everywhere in the city, as well as small local restaurants and food markets.
Many restaurants and cafes offer a daily special, or ‘menu del día’, a full-sized meal at a special price. Affordable activities and entertainment opportunities are plentiful in Cancun.
Access to the beaches is free, as is sunbathing and swimming, and boogie boards and fishing gear can be rented cheaply.
Even if you aren’t staying in the Hotel Zone, you can stroll among the many shops, boutiques, and eateries there shopping for souvenirs and gifts. The nearby Mayan ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza, and El Rey can be explored for a small fee and you could easily spend days there.
For a fun and unusual activity, you can take a swim in one of the local cenotes, or water-filled sinkholes, that are unique to the peninsula.
The reported average daily transportation cost of only $15 per person per day for visitors to Cancun reflects the fact that most of the things to do and see are right there in the city or nearby.
The city has an extensive and well-maintained system of public transportation that offers reasonable rates and a clean, safe ride. The city bus system operates regular and frequent routes through the Hotel Zone and into the downtown area.
The routes most often used by tourists are R1 and R2. Fares are charged at a flat rate of about 12 pesos, or 60 cents, and you’ll need to have some Mexican currency on hand to pay.
You’ll also find plenty of taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft operating in Cancun. The ADO long-distance bus system operates routes to other cities and towns in Mexico.
If you plan on visiting the Mayan ruins, an ADO shuttle bus is very affordable. You can rent a car in Cancun, but be advised that the traffic can be reckless in the city and the police have a reputation for targeting tourists for tickets and fines.
Bicycle and scooter rentals are available around the beach areas and in the downtown area, and you can easily walk to most places you’ll want to see in the city.
Things to Consider
Here are some other things besides costs to keep in mind to ensure that your trip to Cancun is fun, safe, and trouble-free:
- The Mexican Peso is the official currency in Cancun, but U.S. dollars are also accepted in most establishments. However, you should also carry some pesos with you for purchases at smaller stores and street stands and for bus fares. Make sure you check the exchange rate before you go.
- Since it’s such a popular destination for American tourists, you’ll find that many of the people in Cancun speak English passably well if not fluently. But it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases in Spanish and carry a small translation booklet or use a translation app.
- Be aware of the local laws and regulations. It’s illegal to drink alcohol outdoors in public places, and drug possession is severely prosecuted. Avoid doing anything to cause a scene and attract the attention of the authorities.
- Learn a bit about local customs and standards of etiquette. Mexicans appreciate warmth and politeness and will often greet you with a handshake or even a hug. Be respectful in churches and in historical areas and resist the urge to climb on structures and statues.
- As with any trip overseas, you should invest in travel insurance to cover flight cancellations, lost luggage, and unexpected medical expenses on your trip to Cancun.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the must-see sights in Cancun?
Most people consider the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza, and El Rey as places not to be missed. The Isla Mujeres off the coast is also a very popular day trip when visiting Cancun and can be reached by the regular ferry service to the island. The Cancun Underwater Museum and Xcaret Park are also highly recommended.
What clothing should I pack?
Cancun is famous for its hot, sunny weather, so you’ll want to pack appropriately for lots of solar rays. Make sure to bring sunscreen with a high UV rating, quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, light, loose clothing, swimwear, and comfortable shoes or sandals for walking in the city and on the hot sand.
When is the best time to go to Cancun?
The most popular time to visit Cancun is between December and April when the weather is dry and sunny. However, it’s also the time when flights and accommodations will be more expensive and the tourist crowds will be bigger.
Whenever you decide to go, remember to avoid the spring break season from mid-March to the beginning of April, when the crowds of students will be noisy and wild.
Is it safe to eat street food in Cancun?
Yes, it is generally safe to eat the food served by the local street vendors and markets. Keep an eye on the cleanliness of the serving and prep areas, and look for the vendors that have the most business from the locals and tourists. To avoid intestinal problems, it’s best to avoid the tap water and opt for bottled or filtered water.
It it safe to swim in the ocean in Cancun?
Swimming in the ocean in Cancun is as safe as any other beach destination, but always be aware of local conditions and daily advisories, and stay in the designated areas.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Cancun Trip?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$60 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$650 per person
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$45 per day
|$15 per day
|💲 Total Cost
You can expect to spend roughly $120 per day per person on your trip to Cancun, plus your airfare, if you’re the average tourist.
However, with careful planning and by keeping our money-saving tips in mind, you can easily vacation in Cancun for much less. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to this tropical paradise today!